On Wednesday, August 10th, President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 into law. The passage of this bill creates a valid claim for Marines and their families who were stationed, lived, and worked at Camp Lejeune to pursue litigation against the federal government.
The “date of enactment” of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is August 10, 2022. This is significant because the Act states “Camp Lejeune victims only have two years from the enactment of the Act to initiate legal action.” Veterans and their family members that lived on base at Camp Lejeune and were injured have a limited time to file a claimit.
Introduced to the House in March 2021, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is part of the broader Honoring Our Pact Act. The Pact Act looks to expand health care and benefits for veterans exposed toxic hazards, such as burn pits and contaminated water.
Biden gave praise to the bipartisan support for the PACT Act at the signing. “I am urging veterans of those decades of war to promptly file for your claims,” he said. “The VA will move as quickly as possible to resolve your claim and get you the benefits and the care you have earned.”
For over 34 years, toxic agents seeped into the soil of Camp Lejeune’s base junkyards, fuel depots and a local dry cleaner. The most significant source of water contamination was a neighboring dry-cleaning business that for years dumped into drains wastewater tainted with chemicals used in dry cleaning. Chemicals from the dry-cleaning company located near the base were introduced into the water supply at 440 times the levels that are considered to be safe, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
After decades of known water pollution, it was not until 1982 that the government admitted that volatile organic compounds were found in the drinking water in both residential areas and training facilities. While exact dates cannot be determined, it is recognized that from 1953 to 1987 the water service members and their families drank, cooked, bathed, and swam in was contaminated with dangerously high levels of cancer-causing chemicals. Testing revealed the water contained toxic chemicals, including trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and vinyl chloride, amongst others.
Any individual that resided or worked at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 and developed one or more of these qualifying conditions is eligible for compensation:
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hepatic steatosis
- Lung cancer
- Female infertility
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
- Cardiac defects
- Parkinson’s disease
If you or a loved one developed cancer or another illness from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, we are here to help. Contact us today to explore your legal options.